Buying a property can be overwhelming so what does it mean to make an offer on a house? What are the legal implications on you as the 'buyer' if you need to pull out? All this and more in our quick to read guide.
Once you've found the home of your dreams, making a house offer is the next step! As a general rule your first house offer would be below the asking price. A property that has been on the market for some time may mean that the owner is asking an unrealistically high price or the property has problems that put potential buyers off. If this is the case, then a lower first offer may be accepted.
If the property has only just been put up for sale you can still place a house offer below the asking price, but bear in mind that it will probably not be accepted.
Even when you have made your house offer and it has been agreed by the seller or estate agent, they are not bound by law to let you have the property at that price, except in Scotland. Unfortunately, you are in danger of being 'gazumped', which means that the vendor will suddenly accept an offer higher than yours. This can be very annoying and stressful. You should try asking the vendor to remove the property from the market, otherwise you may get caught up in a bidding war. If the seller refuses to take the property off the market it may be a sign that they are still hoping for a better offer.
You could also try attaching a time limit to any offer you make. Tell the vendor that they have a certain period of time to accept your offer or it will be withdrawn. However, if you are going to try this strategy you must offer a realistic sum and you must sound confident. The seller will probably be tempted by the prospect of a quick sale and you will both save a lot of time and energy.
As soon as you make an offer and it is accepted, you need the services of a good solicitor to handle the legal details. You will have to pay for this, so it's worth looking around for a solicitor that you have faith in. Now is the time to arrange a mortgage if you have not done this already. It's a good idea to consult an independent mortgage advisor as they are not attached to a particular financial house and therefore are in a position to shop around on your behalf.
The information included in this article is based on the law applying on 1 January 2005. Please seek your own legal advice for more information regarding your rights.